Karl For Ever: In Paris, the Fashion Industry Pays Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld

Once more to the Grand Palais, to mark an industry’s salute to Karl Lagerfeld, in the place where he treated so many to his spectacular transports of imagination with his Chanel shows.

Karl For Ever was a celebration of the life of the designer who always wittily rebuffed anyone’s attempt to define him, who never wanted to look back, who laughed at pretentious conceptual fashion conversation and constantly lived in the present, yet was simultaneously the most deeply learned, voraciously well-read authority on history, art, literature, philosophy, poetry and music; who sketched, photographed, made films, was a publisher and political cartoonist, lover of new technology, and of a blue-eyed Birman cat named Choupette… Where to begin?
The walls of the Palais were lined with towering black and white portraits of Lagerfeld, from his youthful entry into Paris as the young German winner of the Woolmark Prize in 1954, through every phase of his climb, through Chloé in the ’70s, Fendi, Chanel, and his own Karl Lagerfeld brand, to becoming the most famous fashion personality on the planet.
Many of the people who worked with him at Chanel, Fendi, and Karl Lagerfeld spoke on video; there were performances on stage and readings from literature by Tilda Swinton, Cara Delevingne, Helen Mirren, and more. Pharrell Williams sang and the pianist Lang Lang played. Tango dancers tangoed—we learned it was his little-known passion.
Ultimately, though, the only person who could possibly clinch the portrait of Karl was Karl himself. A patchwork of footage taken from his many televised interviews started with a hilarious film of Lagerfeld interviewing himself—dismissing his own questions on his deep psychological motivations with exactly the same technique he always used on journalists: “You have what you see, there’s nothing behind!” In an excerpt from a documentary made at Versailles, we heard him give the most penetrating quote on the human centrality of fashion to defining any culture: “Clothes are the first thing you think of when you imagine an era—you think of pannier dresses when you say the 18th century, before architecture or anything else.”
Source: Vogue

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